Opposition is growing against the proposed closure by TAMS of the only public toilet on Red Hill, located near the summit restaurant. Red Hill Regenerators President wrote today to Minister Shane Rattenbury requesting that the proposal is reconsidered.
Mr Shane Rattenbury
Minister for Territory and Municipal Services
I thank Rachel Tokley of your Department for providing Red Hill Regenerators with advance notice of the intention to close the Red Hill Lookout toilets. The proposed closure is a matter of concern to the group. We strongly consider that the closure should not proceed, particularly as the reasoning for closure included in the email below seems flawed.
The Red Hill Regenerators would appreciate receiving advice on the methodology and figures by which the Red Hill Lookout toilets were considered a low use facility. In our personal experience, the toilets are well utilised across the weekend, and in the first part of the morning and late afternoon on weekdays. Literally hundreds of people routinely walk from suburban homes in surrounding suburbs of Deakin, Forrest, Red Hill, Garran and Hughes to the top of the Hill. Typically, these walks involve a roundtrip of one or more hours. Many make use of the toilets and the closure will particularly discourage and inconvenience families and people who need to make more frequent use of toilet facilities. Surely, given the health benefits of walking, this discouragement is not something that your Government would want to do.
Other frequent users are tourist undertaking scenic driving tours of Canberra and cyclists doing the hill challenge. The impact of closing the toilets on the enjoyment and experience of Canberra by these visitors and riders may not have been considered in the closure decision.
Mention is made of a toilet being available at the Little Brother Cafe. This cafe is not currently open on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and does not open till 11.00am on Thursday or Friday or 9.30am on the weekend, by which time many morning strolls have already been completed. These opening hours are actually an extension of what has been typical over the last five years, where 11.00am – 4.00pm was the standard for all days. The cafe has had a progression of owners, with owners adjusting opening times downwards to coincide with patronage. History suggests that the current opening hours are unlikely to remain. Little Brother cafe has only been operating for a few months. The average stay within the last ten years for a business would be less than 2 years, in between which the cafe has been closed for months at a time. Use of its one toilet, even if encouraged by the cafe, cannot be relied upon, as an alternative to the continued operation of the public Red Hill lookout toilets.
We would appreciate being kept informed about your considerations on this matter, and while we appreciate the need to always find efficiencies in the provision of public services, we urge re-consideration of the decision to close this well-used, little vandalised public facility.
Red Hill Regenerators